The vinegar keeps the beets a deep red, as well as adding a particularly excellent flavor. In this recipe, the oil is mainly to reduce saturated fats. Risottos are best with butter. The trick with risotto is to manage the heat dynamically as you stir, keeping a simmer going as much as possible.
1 bunch red beets with greens (about 1.5 pounds/1500g)
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
5 tbsp balsamic vinegar, divided
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 small, sweet onion cut in 1-inch/2.5cm cubes
2 cups Arborio rice
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese to pass
- Remove greens from beets, cut off and discard stems. Cut the greens crosswise into ½ inch strips and reserve. Scrub beets and place them in a sauce pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Add broth and enough water, if necessary, to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat then boil gently until tender, 30 to 45 minutes.
- Transfer the beets with a slotted spoon to a cutting board to cool. Trim the stems and tips from the beets and slip off the skins using a paper towel to protect the hands. Cut the beets into a ¼ inch dice. Transfer to a bowl and mix with 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar and set aside.
- Check the beet cooking liquid. If it contains a lot of stuff, strain it. If there are less than 6 cups of liquid, add water or broth to make up the amount.
- Heat oil and butter (you can use more butter to taste) over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent (about 3 minutes.
- Add the rice, increase the heat, and stir until all rice is opaque, about 1 minute.
- Add the remaining 3 tbsp of vinegar and 1 cup (250ml) of the cooking liquid. Stir until almost all the liquid is absorbed, adjusting the heat to maintain a simmer. This takes about 4 minutes.
- Continue to add broth, stirring each time until it is absorbed until about 5 cups have been added and the rice is nearly al dente. Adjust the heat dynamically to maintain a simmer.
- Add the reserved greens and the final cup of broth. Stir until the greens are wilted and add the reserved beets. Stir until the liquid is all absorbed, about 4 minutes in all. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with: Parmigiana Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese.
Source: "Eating Well", March 2006
Copyright © 2001-2012 by The Still Waters Group
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